Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sangre americana preview: Ochoa

Sammy Ochoa got a shot to show his worth to U.S. national team coaches earlier this year in France but despite scoring a goal he was not called up for the big show.

It's sort of fitting as that has been his calling card with Tecos UAG. And so far, this season is already following along those lines.

Ochoa, a native of Michoacan and graduate of Riverside Poly High, represented the United States at the World Youth Championship in 2005. Though he seemed to have put himself in prime position to make a move out of the second division at that point, his career has not progressed much since then.

Ochoa, 21, has spent most his time from the end of the tournament until now in Mexico's Primera A despite his goal-scoring antics. Last year, he had 16 goals with Tecos' second-division side but was promptly returned to Primera A to start this season. He scored a goal in the opener but also picked up a costly red card. Ochoa was suspended a total of three matches for the red card and overall violent conduct at the end of the club's match with Salamanca.

When he returns, he is likely to regain a spot on the field as his scoring touch has not failed him. But his path to the first division seems difficult at best. Tecos has traditionally been near the bottom of the Mexican league table but that hasn't led to any increased playing time for Ochoa with the first club. Most if not all of his time this year could be spent in Primera A.

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